Burnout is a very real problem suffered by people across all fields of work. Even among the most driven and energetic, hitting a wall is something that happens all too often.
If you’re already burned out, you probably know it. But if you’re on the verge, you may know that you’ve been going really hard for a long time, things aren’t quite right, you’re starting to feel tired and less than motivated, but you might not have associated this with burning out, yet.
Below are a 14 signs that you might be heading for burnout – or that you’re already there.
1. You’ve been getting sick a lot.
If you’ve been getting sick more often than normal, your body might be trying to send you a sign. Burnout has very real physical symptoms, especially if your burnout is due to overwork. If you suddenly start feeling under the weather when you’re usually in good health, there’s a very good sign that your mental fatigue is starting to be expressed physically.
2. Maybe you have developed other health problems.
There’s more of a link between the mind and the body than some might expect. While many feel worn down or slightly sick when they start to burn out, those in the midst of the process can actually start to develop new and interesting health problems. These can range from migraine headaches to hypertension, with other problems like acne or ulcers developing as you become more stressed out. Even autoimmune conditions can be triggered by stress and pushing too hard for too long. These issues are your body’s way of telling you that you have pushed it too far.
3. You find yourself having anxiety and/or feeling depressed.
When you push your mind and body to perform, something has to give. Your mental health will often give out before your body, resulting in symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you notice that you are suddenly much more worried than you have been in the past or that your mood is starting to sour every time you think about your big projects, there’s a good chance that you are doing too much.
4. You are tired all the time.
No one can go full speed all the time. If you are starting to fall asleep early and you are nodding off every time you sit still, you’re probably both mentally and physically exhausted. Exhaustion can be a precursor to burnout, a sign that your body just can’t handle your pace any longer. If you notice that you’re tired all the time, it’s a good sign that you need to make a change and to take care of yourself.
5. You lack enjoyment.
Have you noticed that your favorite things have stopped making you happy? If so, it might be because you are so mentally overwhelmed that your mind just can’t process other emotions at the moment. If you notice that some of your favorite activities aren’t fun and that you just can’t find a way to entertain yourself, you may be burned out by your job or your other responsibilities. When you lose the ability to feel joy, you’ve lost something very important.
6. You are starting to feel detached.
As you slide farther into the process of burnout, your mind will start to protect itself by detaching from anything else. You might find that you no longer have any emotional responses to the things in your life or that you have a hard time relating to people. In many cases, what you’re really doing is trying to protect yourself from feeling the significant strain that comes with your oncoming feelings of burnout.
7. You are irritable.
If you find yourself feeling irritable most of the time, it could be a sign of burnout. Likewise, if you’re suddenly snapping at everyone and everything around you, it’s probably not because their competence has diminished. Instead, it’s much more likely that you are feeling stressed and you’re not coping well.
8. You find yourself feeling cynical or pessimistic.
There are plenty of people who are naturally pessimistic. If you suddenly find yourself being cynical about the world around you, it might be because your worldview has been colored by your current stress level. People who are in the midst of burnout are often stuck looking at the world in as uncharitable a manner as possible, pushing their inner turmoil out into the rest of the world.
9. You are unmotivated.
Perhaps the most common sign out burnout is a lack of motivation. At some point, you took a look at the world around you and began to feel like it takes to much energy and that you just can’t do it. It’s common for motivation to drop when you feel like you’re overwhelmed or stressed, and even more common when you hit a wall in your career efforts.
10. Your performance is suffering and you’re making more mistakes.
Not everyone who burns out stops working. Many people keep trying to work, but their performance suffers. You might be putting in just as many hours as ever, but you are more prone to mistakes and you just aren’t as careful as you could be. This is one of the most dangerous symptoms of burnout because it can have a chilling effect on your future opportunities.
11. It’s becoming harder and harder to concentrate.
If you are burning out, though, your ability to concentrate is difficult. An inability to focus is a big sign of burnout. Burnout and a lack of concentration tend to go together.
12. You find yourself having problems in your interpersonal relationships.
Many of the warning signs of burnout come from your unconscious attempts to control your environment. If you notice that your interpersonal relationships are failing, it might be because you are attempting to deflect your feelings of dissatisfaction onto people who aren’t related to the process. If you notice relationships fall apart, you might be heading towards burnout.
13. Your self-care is basically non-existent.
Are you taking care of yourself? If you don’t feel motivated to do so or if you feel like you just don’t have time, you may be heading down a dark path. Burnout happens because there’s not enough balance in your life, and if you aren’t taking care of yourself then that balance has been upset. Actually taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to combat burnout.
14. You’re feeling dissatisfied.
Are you feeling dissatisfied with your life or job? In many cases, that might be because you’ve hit your limit. Being dissatisfied is your mind’s way of telling you that you need to make a change.
If these signs are familiar to you, be sure to make the necessary changes to find better balance in your life. It may not be easy, but it is worth it.